Presenting Mr. Successful
Another variation on the technique of using testimonials to sell your product is that of associating your product with a spokesperson who possesses all the attributes you claim your product will deliver.
The Hume Group, an Atlanta, GA-based publisher of business, finance and investment home study courses, boasts two long-term controls using this technique, reports direct mail consultant Axel Andersson.
For example, Hume's current control for its Successful Investing & Money Management (SIMM) course shares the story of Gordon Pape, a self-made millionaire who went from rags to riches with successful investing strategies that he taught himself (733HUMEGR0400). The copywriter tells Pape's story in first person, so readers can connect directly with the frustration, fear and final victory of a real-life millionaire.
A 9"x 12" envelope package provides the most real estate Hume can get to provide enough detail to lure prospects inside the mailing. The front of the envelope features an introduction to Pape's tale and emphasizes his flesh-and-blood existence with a picture. To link Pape's success with SIMM, Hume adds testimonials from satisfied SIMM students; six testimonials with photos are featured on the flip side of the envelope.
An interesting element on the the envelope is a checklist of what prospects will NOT find inside the mailing, addressing the key roadblocks upfront.
The letter begins with the question headline, "If You Can Answer One Easy Question Inside, You're Already 90% Toward Making Your First Million," that is featured on the back of the outer envelope to make an immediate connection with prospects and tease them into reading. Important copy points are placed at crucial junctures in Pape's story: at the bottom of page two, he comments that he had no teachers or instruction in investing money. This statement is the perfect set-up to convince prospects that this course will put them one step ahead of a millionaire. Then, on page three, the copywriter drops in several more testimonials from SIMM students.
By the time the prospect gets to page five, he's ready for the question that will tell him if he's going to be a millionaire: "Do you sincerely want to become rich?" After reading five pages dedicated to how others have altered their lives, the prospect is itching to say yes.
The postscript of the letter is particularly strong, scaring prospects with the possibility of having to work and be dependent on others for life. It hits the pain points that anyone who wants more money feels deep in his gut.
Because success stories are the key to prospects believing SIMM offers valuable lessons in investing for profit, Hume includes a four-page brochure packed with more testimonials and pictures of customers.
Andersson says: "Any copywriter knows it is not enough to have successful students you can quote. You have to find somebody who is willing to dramatize the value of his training in a promotion going to millions. That is often one of the big hurdles in testimonial mailings or ads..."
Andersson adds that this technique also accounts for the strength of the most successful mailing of all time, Martin Conroy's "Two Young Men" mailing for The Wall Street Journal. Conroy never says the more successful of the two men in the letter reads The Journal, but he certainly means to imply it. And it works!